[QODLink]
Americas

Saudi minister: US to remain energy dependent

Oil minister calls talk of US energy independence "naive", saying country will need Middle East oil long into future.

Last Modified: 30 Apr 2013 20:30
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Naimi said Saudi Arabia its current 266 billion barrels could increase, especially if technology improves [EPA]

Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi has called the US push for energy independence "naive," saying the country will continue to need Middle Eastern oil long into the future.

Naimi said on Tuesday he welcomed the surge in US domestic energy production from shale oil and gas fields, which he said will add depth and stability to global oil markets.

"Newly commercial reserves of shale or tight oil are transforming the energy industry in America - and that's great news," the AFP news agency quoted him as telling an audience of policy makers and academics at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington.

"It is helping to sustain the US economy and create jobs at a difficult time.

"I welcome these new supplies into the global oil market." he added.

On the other hand, he said, it was not realistic to believe this would help the United States eliminate imports of oil, a goal of some Americans who argue energy independence is crucial for the country's security.

'Simplistic view'

Despite the domestic production gains, US imports of Middle East oil in the second half of 2012 were higher than any time since the 1990s, Naimi said.

Al Jazeera's Empire explores the shifting geopolitics of oil

The United States "will continue to meet domestic demand by utilising a range of different sources, including from the Middle East. This is simply sound economics."

"I believe this talk of ending reliance is a naive, rather simplistic view."

Naimi meanwhile emphasised that Saudi Arabia remains able to sustain its reserves at the current 266 billion barrels and said that could increase, especially if technology for extracting "tight" shale oil and gas improves.

But he corrected comments by another top Saudi official, former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal, on Saudi oil development plans.

In a speech Monday at Harvard University, Turki said Saudi Arabia "is set to" increase production capacity to 15 million barrels a day from the current 12.5 million barrels per day.

"We have no plans" for that, Naimi said. "We don't really see a need to build a capacity beyond what we have today."

Contacted by AFP, an aide to Turki said that he meant Saudi Arabia "could" take that step if it felt the need.

412

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.